Friday, April 06, 2018

EZ rock drill: cut time / fast 4

This is a fast tempo rock exercise I've been using with a couple of students; it combines my EZ rock beat method, and my cut time rock method. It's very basic, but it will help with improvising, and it involves a couple of important moves over which you want to have total control when playing music. If you don't have my EZ Rock Drumming e-book, this old post explains at least the basic version of the method. You should really buy the book, though— especially if you're teaching.

As our source rhythm we'll use line 2 from page 10 of Ted Reed's Syncopation:

Per the method in EZ Rock Drumming, we'll play the top line rhythm— 1-2&-3-4 — on the bass drum and snare drum: play notes on 2 and 4 on the snare, play all the other notes on the bass drum. Add a basic cymbal rhythm—first 8th notes:

Then do it with quarter notes on the cymbal:

For the cut time interpretation of the same rhythm, play the snare drum on 3, and the rest of the rhythm on the bass drum. Here that is, with 8th notes on the cymbal:

And again, with quarter notes on the cymbal:

For the purposes of this method, we'll call the snare-on-2/4 way fast 4, and we'll call the snare-on-3 way cut time— we have to do the exercise rather fast, or else the cut time portion won't have the right feel. Hence fast 4.

Practice switching the cymbal rhythm from 8th notes to quarter notes:

And practice switching from fast 4 (with SD on 2/4) and cut time with the same cymbal rhythm:

The actual practice drill is to play the regular beat, then the cut time beat, then the cut time beat with quarter notes, then the fast 4 beat with quarter notes:

You could also start with the fast 4, then fast 4 with quarter notes, then cut time with quarter notes, then cut time with 8th notes:

You can do each part for four measures as I've indicated, or however many measures you want, and do the change whenever you're ready. FYI, one good thing about practicing with Syncopation is that you can work on developing good reading practices while you work on your drum stuff. If you want to do that, read through the entire line for every four measures you play of this exercise.

This obviously isn't something you need to work to death. You can probably learn what this lesson is designed to teach you by practicing it with the first eight lines of exercises from pp. 10-11 of Syncopation. Or you can do all fifteen lines.

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